Skinner Leadership Institute president Barbara Williams-Skinner was born in Antioch, California, in 1943. Williams-Skinner completed her undergraduate degree at San Francisco State University before attending the University of California, Los Angeles. Williams-Skinner went on to earn her M.S.W. and her J.D. degrees from UCLA. For several years, Williams-Skinner promoted urban leadership and inner-city concerns as executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus. Williams-Skinner also served on the boards of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Center; Volunteers of America; the National Political Congress of Black Women; the Christian Community Development Association; and Evangelicals for Social Action.
In 1992, Williams-Skinner and her husband, the Reverend Tom Skinner, former chaplain to the Washington Redskins and New York Yankees, founded the Skinner Leadership Institute. The endeavor combined two of Williams-Skinner's core ambitions - leadership building and evangelism - into one occupation. The Institute offered leadership development and reconciliation to people of all backgrounds and faiths, especially leaders, students, and youth with emerging leadership potential. The Skinner Leadership Institute aimed to produce a new cadre of leaders who were both technically excellent and spiritually mature, pledged to promoting reconciliation, and working for those in physical or spiritual need.
Williams-Skinner also served as a board member of Operation Rainbow PUSH; the Christian Community Development Association; and the Neighborhood Learning Center. Williams-Skinner was involved with the Community Empowerment Equity Partnership, which ran an Urban Leadership Academy at Ballou Senior High School in Washington, D.C. Williams-Skinner provided leadership development curriculum and teacher training for the program.
Barbara Williams-Skinner raised two stepdaughters: Lauren Skinner Gaines, and Kyla Jewell Skinner.